“We want to give students an opportunity to have something different from their classes,” says Jacob Jenson, Salt Lake Community College’s Redwood Activities Vice-president.
“Our events are more focused towards entertainment and not so much for an educational aspect. [Education] is something that, to a certain degree we try to include as much as we can.”
The Activities Board regularly has movie days, which consist of screenings in public areas of the campus: in the Student Center at the Redwood Campus, and at South City on a big screen T.V. by the old cafeteria. These are called “Movie Mondays” at the Redwood Campus. The movies played so far have been: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Transformers 2, Michael Jackson’s This Is It, Star Trek and Goonies. The question is: are these films appropriate to be playing at a school? Are they relevant?
Coming from someone who has watched more zombie films than can counted on all of their fingers and toes: The issue is not vulgarity or morality. The issue is that school should be a focused environment; focused on the real world and real events, or material that is within the realm of possibility. Movies can be great; they can talk about real issues and relevant events. They can introduce us to thoughts, ideas, and emotions that we would not normally be exposed to.
Having films at school can be a distraction. If the school is going to provide this service, let it be something more useful or meaningful than Transformers 2. Transformers is a classic television show, which many of us relished as children. But now that we are in college, aren’t there more important things that our time and money can be spent on?
In reality, if giant robots do come to earth, let’s hope that our greatest concerns are not what brand of car they transform into, and watching them punch and shoot each other. Imaginary robots and wizards have little relevance to a student’s education, unless they plan to write fiction, or make special effects for films. This specific group of students can take classes about these subjects, or fulfill these interests outside of school.
Films with educational value would be a definite plus. But formal education is not the only type of learning that counts; observation and experience are also essential. Learning does not have to be confined. You can learn all about life by simply watching things happen in the world around you. Film can be a window of observation into any subject. It does not have to be filled with celebrities, and explosions.
Movies shown in a school setting should engage us in reality, and engage us with things that are relevant to our lives. We should not be seeking escapism; we are here to learn about the world so that we can find a way that we can better it. Understanding the need for a break from the stress of our day-to-day lives. We shuffle from school, to work, to projects and other obligations and then to sleep, only to rise and repeat in the morning.
In the Redwood office for the activity board: “Anybody in the office will ask around, until we can get a list of five or six different movies, and then we actually would make a survey, and go around. Usually most of the students that we would survey- at least here at Redwood- would be those in the lair area, or sometimes we would just take surveys out into the hall.”
We have all experienced such films that mean something to us, that punctuate the shifts and turns of our lives. Whether it be Super-Size Me, Baraka, Food Inc., Hotel Rwanda, The Killing Fields, Persepolis, The Pianist, Dances With Wolves, even Forrest Gump, these are films that should be considered for future surveys.
There is the concern that if more serious films were shown; they wouldn’t be worth the funding necessary (about $400 for older films and $900 for new releases for the rights to show for a week) because viewership would be lower. But wouldn’t you rather that your student fees go towards something with significance?
Do entertainment and education have to be mutually exclusive? The purpose of the Student Activities Board is to “serve students with what they are interested in.” It is up to you, the student, to decide what you are interested in, and to ask this of the Representatives. Do you want to confront reality or do you want escape?
You can contact one of the Student Representatives about the movie screenings wither in person or through email. Jacob Jenson: firstname.lastname@example.org , or Eric Hunter (Vice president of the south city region) at email@example.com.